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Life After AES

Submitted by Olivia J Hernandez on February 1, 2017 - 4:26pm
Professors Sumida, Nomura, Kashima and Flores at the AES Symposium
Professor Flores Recognizes Professors Sumida, Nomura, and Kashima at the AES Symposium

Three long-serving members of the AES faculty retired in the spring of 2016; fortunately, they continue to contribute through their amazing work both to the department and the campus community in their new roles as emeritus faculty.

  • Professor Tetsuden Kashima, for example, is slowly returning to writing and doing research for an article and a third book after taking time to clear his “cluttered and book-filled” office and doing some traveling with his wife. He now plans to go more frequently to the library to check facts and resources that inform his writing and is excited to have a “home” base on campus in an emeritus office that he shares with Professors Steve Sumida and Gail Nomura. According to Kashima, this year is the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that led to the removal of almost all Japanese Americans from the West Coast and their incarceration into American concentration camps during World War II. Professor Kashima plans to memorialize the anniversary of this American civil rights tragedy in the company of several other professors from the AES department. He is also in the final process of writing a report on the planting of thirty-four cherry blossom trees on campus and in the Washington Park Arboretum that were gifted to the UW by the nation of Japan. Some of the trees, which were planted on May 24, 2014, can presently be seen in the lawn space between Mary Gates and Johnson Hall. Aside from another group planted just south of the Drumheller Fountain, a final thirteen trees adorn the Arboretum next to the Japanese Garden and along Azalea Way. AES was, of course, the sponsoring department. For Kashima, “These trees represent a splendid addition to the iconic cherry blossom trees in the UW quad.”

  • Professor Gail Nomura has stayed busy since her retirement as well. In addition to completing work on her own book project, she has started drafting a proposal for a new anthology on Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s history. Nomura co-edited the first edition of a similar anthology, Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology, more than 10 years ago. When she was asked to do a second edition, she saw the potential for a whole new volume due to the incredible work emerging in her field and offered to do that instead. Nomura is also invested in projects on the University of Washington campus. Along with other AES emeritus faculty, Nomura is working with the Holocaust Center in Seattle to do a series of programs on campus centered on holocaust and internment camp experiences. The first event in this series is scheduled for February 18th and will provide an opportunity to reflect on the factors leading to the establishment of concentration camps. Nomura explains that these events will establish a space to see if “there is a way that we can learn from that lesson, both good and bad, and do something more positive in this time of great anxiety.” Most crucially, Nomura hopes that these events will help students see the intertwined history and relationship between the Seattle Jewish and Japanese communities.


  • Beyond visiting his home state of Hawai’i with his family, Professor Steve Sumida has remained hard at work on the UW campus after his retirement at the end of Spring Quarter 2016. In the fall, he assisted Acting Assistant Professor Vince Schleitwiler with developing the curriculum of an Asian American Theater course and mentored a visiting scholar from China. Sumida is also planning to work with a group of scholars on a book of critical essays about John Okada’s novel No-No Boy. Sumida explains, “This will be a kind of distillation of my 36 years of teaching the novel No-No Boy. I think I have the most experience in teaching this novel, something I have done continuously since 1981. Along the way, you learn a lot of things. My part of the book will be to do a close contextualized reading of the novel. Mostly as I see it, I will be annotating the details in the novel that need to be commented on in order for the novel to be understood. [I will also focus on] historical, contextual, and pop culture backgrounds, as well as tying it to the time of publication and the present moment. My work will be a consideration of what readers of the novel require to be successful.” Sumida has also continued his work in local performance, providing some voiceover work as well as continuing to help develop The Tale of the Heike for the Seattle stage.

More information on the Day of Rememberance event on February 18th can be found Here.